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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(1), 160; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15010160

Exposure to Ambient Air Particles Increases the Risk of Mental Disorder: Findings from a Natural Experiment in Beijing

1
Beijing Institutes of Life Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100000, China
2
Laboratory of Environmental Criteria and Risk Assessment and Environmental Standards Institute, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100000, China
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 November 2017 / Revised: 8 January 2018 / Accepted: 9 January 2018 / Published: 19 January 2018
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Abstract

Epidemiology studies indicated that air pollution has been associated with adverse neurological effects in human. Moreover, the secretion of glucocorticoid (GC) affects the mood regulation, and the negative feedback of hippocampal glucocorticoid receptors (GR) inhibits the GC secretion. Meanwhile, the over secretion of GC can interfere the immune system and induce neurotoxicity. In the present study, the human test showed that the secretion of the cortisol in plasma was elevated after exposure in heavy air pollution. In the mouse model, we found that breathing the highly polluted air resulted in the negative responses of the mood-related behavioral tests and morphology of hippocampus, as well as the over secretion of GC in plasma, down regulation of GR, and up-regulation of cytokine and chemokine in the hippocampus. When considering the interrelated trends between the hippocampal GR, inflammatory factors, and plasmatic GC, we speculated that PM2.5 exposure could lead to the increased secretion of GC in plasma by decreasing the expression of GR in hippocampus, which activated the inflammation response, and finally induced neurotoxicity, suggesting that PM2.5 exposure negatively affects mood regulation. When combined with the results of the human test, it indicated that exposure to ambient air particles increased the risk of mental disorder. View Full-Text
Keywords: PM2.5; mental disorder; glucocorticoid receptors; glucocorticoid; inflammation PM2.5; mental disorder; glucocorticoid receptors; glucocorticoid; inflammation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Jia, Z.; Wei, Y.; Li, X.; Yang, L.; Liu, H.; Guo, C.; Zhang, L.; Li, N.; Guo, S.; Qian, Y.; Li, Z. Exposure to Ambient Air Particles Increases the Risk of Mental Disorder: Findings from a Natural Experiment in Beijing. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 160.

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